7 ways to charm your super besides paying him off

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By Teri Karush Rogers  |
May 25, 2010 - 11:11AM

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Doormen may accept your drycleaning, spy on your nanny, and walk your dog once in a while, but the real super power is your super.

Known as the resident manager in bigger buildings, the super is the boss of everyone who collects a paycheck at your address, and the one who comes to your rescue when things go wrong inside your apartment. He (rarely, she) can make your troubles go away quickly, slowly, dearly, or not at all.

Keeping on your super’s good side is smart crisis insurance.  But making nice is not just about the Christmas bonus ($100-$150 average, within a range of $75-$500) or about the in-between tips.

(Rule of thumb on those January-thru-November infusions: If your super fixes something would cost you a lot of money to repair on your own, offer to tip, though not all supers will accept it.)

As Manhattan supers and Brick Underground experts Curt Bergeest and Joseph Shkreli explain, staying in your super's good graces goes way beyond greenbacks.

Here's the scoop:

1.  No snitching:  If you have a complaint about the super or a staff member, take it to the super before going to the board or managing agent.

2.  Don’t jam oversized trash down the compactor, where it can get stuck and/or endanger the crew in the compactor room. Don't leave it in the hallway either--that makes it looks like the super and his staff aren't doing their job keeping the building clean.  Instead, call the super, who will be glad to send someone to pick it up.

3.  Notify a staff member if your dog sullies an indoor public space before three people call the super to complain about it. (Remember, that elevator has cameras, folks.)

4.  Good tipping doesn’t trump a bad attitude, and a nice, sincere attitude goes a long way. It also doesn't hurt to sing your super’s praises to the board and your neighbors as appropriate.

5.  Don’t complain about other residents breaking rules that you are guilty of flaunting yourself.

6.  Understand that supers can’t fix everything, sometimes they make mistakes, and it's rarely personal.

7.  Many supers hang out near the lobby in the morning to field maintenance requests, and they don’t like it when you wait till evening to ask for a lightbulb change (or if you ask for anything that you can easily do yourself). And when you ask for a repair, give the full 411 – for example, let the super know that a ladder or a power drill will be needed to prevent unnecessary schlepping.

      Related posts:

      Does your super hate you?

      My super is corrupt

      Roadmap to graft

      BrickUnderground 1st Annual Holiday Tipping Guide

      Teri Rogers Headshot - Floral

      Teri Karush Rogers

      Founder & Publisher

      Founder and publisher Teri Karush Rogers launched Brick Underground in 2009. As a freelance journalist, she had previously covered New York City real estate for The New York Times. Teri has been featured as an expert on New York City residential real estate by The New York Times, New York Daily News, amNew York, NBC Nightly News, The Real Deal, Business Insider, the Huffington Post, and NY1 News, among others. Teri earned a BA in journalism and a law degree from New York University.

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